Small Great Things

Small Great Things

A Novel

eBook - 2016
Average Rating:
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"This stunning new novel is Jodi Picoult at her finest--complete with unflinching insights, richly layered characters, and a page-turning plot with a gripping moral dilemma at its heart. Ruth Jefferson is a labor and delivery nurse at a Connecticut hospital with more than twenty years' experience. During her shift, Ruth begins a routine checkup on a newborn, only to be told a few minutes later that she's been reassigned to another patient. The parents are white supremacists and don't want Ruth, who is African American, to touch their child. The hospital complies with their request, but the next day, the baby goes into cardiac distress while Ruth is alone in the nursery. Does she obey orders or does she intervene? Ruth hesitates before performing CPR and, as a result, is charged with a serious crime. Kennedy McQuarrie, a white public defender, takes her case but gives unexpected advice: Kennedy insists that mentioning race in the courtroom is not a winning strategy. Conflicted by Kennedy's counsel, Ruth tries to keep life as normal as possible for her family--especially her teenage son--as the case becomes a media sensation. As the trial moves forward, Ruth and Kennedy must gain each other's trust, and come to see that what they've been taught their whole lives about others--and themselves--might be wrong. With incredible empathy, intelligence, and candor, Jodi Picoult tackles race, privilege, prejudice, justice, and compassion--and doesn't offer easy answers. Small Great Things is a remarkable achievement from a writer at the top of her game. Praise for Jodi Picoult's Leaving Time "A riveting drama."--Us Weekly "[A] moving tale."--People "A fast-paced, surprise-ending mystery."--USA Today "Poignant. an entertaining story about parental love, friendship, loss."--The Washington Post"-- Provided by publisher.
"A woman and her husband admitted to a hospital to have a baby requests that their nurse be reassigned - they are white supremacists and don't want Ruth, who is black, to touch their baby. The hospital complies, but the baby later goes into cardiac distress when Ruth is on duty. She hesitates before rushing in to perform CPR. When her indecision ends in tragedy, Ruth finds herself on trial, represented by a white public defender who warns against bringing race into a courtroom. As the two come to develop a truer understanding of each other's lives, they begin to doubt the beliefs they each hold most dear"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Ballantine Books, 2016.
ISBN: 9780345544964
Characteristics: 1 online resource
text file
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc. - Distributor

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k
kguerito
Nov 16, 2017

I could not put this book down. It was great story of how race is perceived by most people and to other people it’s not by race, but by social class. The strength to overcome diversity and to live with it was so inspiring. Ruth an African American nurse who went to an Ivy League school to become a nurse works for a hospital that threw her under the bus when a baby dies. Kennedy McQuarrie, a lawyer who gave up to work at a big law firm to work as a public defender so she could have more time for family gets this case and it not only interrupt her career but also the way she sees how society treats other people based on skin color. A white surprimast, Turk up bring was not so easy. His dad left his mom, therefore he finds a farther figure from another guy who happens to introduce him to the White Power Movement where he found acceptance. His story really has a twist at the end and it was comforting to see how his character changes and turns his life around to be more positive to his environment. One of the best parts I liked was at the end of the story when Turk has changed his appearances and brings his daughter to the doctor who is Ruth. Ruth doesn’t recognize Turk, but he says Thank you for everything to her.

m
mitchelclay
Nov 16, 2017

Man, I almost don't know what to say about this book. I laughed, cried, and was forced to bear with some very ugly personal truths. Small Great Things reads as a fantastic work of fiction, but also as a primer for fundamental conversations about race, privilege, inequality, and basic human experiences.

Jodi Picoult introduces us to three distinct characters that the perspective of the story is told through. Ruth is a neonatal nurse who is strong, caring, and finds herself right in the middle of a very difficult situation. That situation deals directly with the color of her skin. Unfortunately, on the other side of the confrontation is Turk, an unapologetic white supremacist. When Ruth is put in charge of Turk's newborn baby boy, he's none too happy. And when his child tragically dies in the hospital, he holds Ruth legally responsible. Enter Kennedy, Ruth's state appointed legal representation. Kennedy is kind and considerate, but ultimately uninterested in dealing with the racist undertones within the case that is presented to her. She is, in her own words, "color blind".

What happens in the courtroom deeply moved me. It forces a mirror in front of the reader. And when I saw my reflection, I was able to view myself, and my worldview clearer than I have in a long time.

This book will grab you by the shoulders and shake you to the core.

I couldn't recommend it higher.

e
ENFPWOMAN
Nov 08, 2017

Ugh... this was the first JP book I slogged through. I gamely tried a 2nd (Leaving Time)... it was even worst than this one!
By the time I'd read the 2nd book, her formula became clear to me... within 9 months(!): pick an idea, skim research it, develop a plot, people it with unbelievable & extreme characters, do not develop those characters, have characters ask endless questions about minutae, constantly lecture the reader, end every chapter with a one line zinger, publish the book, etc, etc.
Just goes to demonstrate yet again... just because a book and/or author is a bestseller/trendy/popular doesn't mean they're/it's worth reading. As another reviewer said... she'll never win any sort of literary prize for her output.

j
Jewood44
Nov 06, 2017

Book club

l
lorraine_on_rodney
Nov 04, 2017

one star on this one from me - I generally have no issue with an author writing about someone of another race, gender, ethnicity etc. but for this novel, Picoult should have talked herself out of writing it. The characters were all so heavily drawn - impossibly good or unbelievably evil and that's not how people are in real life. I couldn't empathize with any of them.

I put it aside about half-way through it - my first attempt at reading PIcoult and definitely my last - there are too many better reads to waste time on her. Sorry to her fans, but she's never going to be nominated for a Pulitzer, a Nobel, the Giller, the Booker,

b
becker
Sep 30, 2017

This book deals with some very relevant social issues of the day and it doesn't beat around the bush. Jodi Picoult is a great storyteller and she can take almost any topic and make an interesting, engaging read out of it. Highly recommended to fans of her work or to anyone who loves to read books about family challenges or community issues.

0
0007548100dmw
Sep 20, 2017

A very good book. Great character development, great research and wonderful story. Can't wait for her next book.

j
jggauthier
Sep 17, 2017

So much rich content in this book that could be discussed by many. The themes presented make you think long after you have book down this page-turner.

I thoroughly enjoy all of Jodi Picoult's novels.

2
21288004423386
Sep 01, 2017

This is the first book by Jodi Picoult's that I have read, I was under the impression that her writing was more along the romantic line. SO I only read this book after a very good friend recommended it. What a book. This is a book about an act of racism, and a woman who has the strength to fight it and the white supremacists she is fighting against. The book is very well written with vivid characters and an excellent story based on a true event. It looks at both sides of racism, how it starts and how it can end. This book has a very realistic ring to it, especially in the light of current events.

CatherineG_1 Aug 01, 2017

Picoult's story of an African American nurse who has to make a life or death decision concerning a white baby whose parents are White Supremacists is thought provoking.
As ehbooklover said, no review could do this book justice. A good book has you thinking about the content long after you read the story. Picoult has woven a story that does just that.
There is so much rich content for discussion that would be ideal for book clubs.

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Quotes

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c
cknightkc
Apr 26, 2017

“The best lies are the ones that are wrapped around a core of truth.” - p. 113

c
cknightkc
Apr 26, 2017

“The only time people who look like us are making history, it’s a footnote.” - p. 119

c
cknightkc
Apr 26, 2017

“Freedom is the fragile neck of a daffodil, after the longest of winters.” - p. 449

k
KaseyNB
Apr 13, 2017

“Not everything that is faced can be changed. But nothing can be changed until it is faced.”

k
KaseyNB
Apr 13, 2017

“Admitting that racism has played a part in our success means admitting that the American dream isn’t quite so accessible to all.”

k
KaseyNB
Apr 13, 2017

“It’s the difference between dancing along the eggshell crust of acquaintance and diving into the messy center of a relationship. It’s not always perfect; it’s not always pleasant—but because it is rooted in respect, it is unshakable.”

k
KaseyNB
Apr 13, 2017

“You say you don’t see color…but that’s all you see. You’re so hyperaware of it, and of trying to look like you aren’t prejudiced, you can’t even understand that when you say race doesn’t matter all I hear is you dismissing what I’ve felt, what I’ve lived, what it’s like to be put down because of the color of my skin.”

k
KaseyNB
Apr 13, 2017

“Equality is treating everyone the same. But equity is taking differences into account, so everyone has a chance to succeed.”

k
KaseyNB
Apr 13, 2017

“In a lot of ways, having a teenager isn't all that different from having a newborn. You learn to read the reactions, because they're incapable of saying exactly what it is that's causing pain.”

k
KaseyNB
Apr 13, 2017

“It just goes to show you: every baby is born beautiful.
It's what we project on them that makes them ugly.”

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Summary

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a
abaumler
Sep 06, 2017

This stunning new novel is Jodi Picoult at her finest--complete with unflinching insights, richly layered characters, and a page-turning plot with a gripping moral dilemma at its heart. Ruth Jefferson is a labor and delivery nurse at a Connecticut hospital with more than twenty years' experience. During her shift, Ruth begins a routine checkup on a newborn, only to be told a few minutes later that she's been reassigned to another patient. The parents are white supremacists and don't want Ruth, who is African American, to touch their child. The hospital complies with their request, but the next day, the baby goes into cardiac distress while Ruth is alone in the nursery. Does she obey orders or does she intervene? Ruth hesitates before performing CPR and, as a result, is charged with a serious crime. Kennedy McQuarrie, a white public defender, takes her case but gives unexpected advice: Kennedy insists that mentioning race in the courtroom is not a winning strategy. Conflicted by Kennedy's counsel, Ruth tries to keep life as normal as possible for her family--especially her teenage son--as the case becomes a media sensation. As the trial moves forward, Ruth and Kennedy must gain each other's trust, and come to see that what they've been taught their whole lives about others--and themselves--might be wrong

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